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Preview: Africa Unchained

Emergent Africa

Inspired by George Ayittey's book 'Africa Unchained'.

Updated: 2017-08-17T07:57:12.592-04:00


DR Congo: Opposition elites won’t save us #DRC


Herman Nzeza Malungidi writes
Observers hope that prominent opposition figures can provide an alternative to President Kabila. But many Congolese distrust these would-be leaders.
More here

The unique risks facing African cities


Sarah Colenbrander writes:
Cities in sub-Saharan Africa are growing fast. Nigeria alone is projected to add 212 million urban dwellers by 2050, equivalent to the current population of Germany, France and the UK.

But focusing on population growth leads many to overlook the other unusual features of African cities. Urban economies across the region are markedly different from those of other cities around the world: they are more expensive to live in, more informal and less industrial...[more]

Thulani Maseko | Using The Law To Defeat a King


Thulani Maseko at Oslo Freedom Forum:
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Is #Nigeria the next Haiti?


Pat Utomi writes:
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Poverty pummels the Island country just as ferocious Hurricanes visit it from time to time with fury and the anger of a violated person. But few people know that the highest per capita income in the world in 1789 was not Britain, Germany or the United states. It was Haiti’s Plantation economy. As the Oil age looks clearly to be coming to a close, and clever countries have used savings from Oil to build future potential, it seems fair to wonder if Nigeria will be the next Haiti. The Tea Leaves, unless something dramatic happens, points to Nigeria travelling that sad highway. This reflection, frankly, and sadly, is a story of a personal recurring cry for a beloved country as the path to perdition has been persistently opted for. Can we save our country from being like Haiti, the economy that did not change, and literally died...[more]

Ify Chiejina - Artist


Creating Pathways for Dialogue - Ify Chiejina
allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" mozallowfullscreen="" src="" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="640"> Ify Chiejina - Creating Pathways for Dialogue from Ify Chiejina on Vimeo.

The Economic Model that Organized Asia for Decades (and Africa was hoping to follow). Now It's Broken


Kevin Hamlin and Dexter Roberts writing in Bloomberg:
Automation threatens to block the ascent of Asia’s poor. Civil unrest could follow.
More here

Industrial Cluster Nnewi -The Small Town Of The Super Rich in #Nigeria


A Forbes Africa report on a largely unrecognized industrial cluster:
The small Nigerian town of Nnewi has more naira billionaires per capita than anywhere else in the country.

Democracy includes having ways to remove those we voted in - Thuli Madonsela


In Business Live:
The former public protector says people are lying when they say that voting by secret ballot is an infringement on democracy...[more]

A look at Traditional Treatments


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Why I No Longer Use the Term Game for Bushmeat | by Chika Unigwe


Over at Brittle Paper:
Novelist and Brown University Professor Chika Unigwe stirred up social media last week with a Facebook post that had everyone putting on their thinking caps and asking serious questions about how we tell our stories.

The Facebook post is a thought-provoking reflection on the power in names. Unigwe uses the distinction between the standard English term for wild-caught meat “game” and the Nigerian term “bushmeat” to expose the dark underbelly of linguistic practices that we tend to take for granted. The short but hard-hitting Facebook statement is a call to African writers to be vigilant about how language can paradoxically be used to suppress their voices...[more]

Fostering Arab Entrepreneurship


Philippe Le Houérou writes:
Across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), technology hubs are emerging. Whether it’s in the Beirut Digital District or the GrEEK campus in Cairo, some of the Middle East’s brightest minds are turning innovative ideas into marketable products...[more]

Africans need to grow technology, but on their own terms


Nanjira Sambuli writes:
Technology, together with all the disruptions it causes, has secured a big part in narratives, norms and visions for Africa’s future.

The past half-decade alone has been an interesting showcase of the proven and the possible, and with it has come a set of narratives about the future of African technology that merit further discussion, and in some cases, debunking....[more]

Adebayo's 'Stay with Me: A novel


Noor Brara writing in Vogue:
"...Ayobami Adebayo landed in Atlanta to begin the first leg of her U.S. book tour for Stay With Me, her highly anticipated debut novel, to be published by Knopf on August 22. Just off a 12-hour plane ride from Nigeria, she was surprised when the immigration officer at the gate greeted her pleasantly with, “E kaaro!” or “Good morning!” in her native Yoruba. “I remember thinking, ‘Wow, everyone here is so friendly! How did she know how to say that?’”
More here

#Nigeria: The shattering of the Buhari mythology


Moses Ochonu writes:
The reality of leadership has exploded the illusion of Buhari’s messianic abilities and exposed him as a prisoner of power – in other words, as just another politician.
More here

Meet Boniface Mwangi, the Kenyan activist turned politician


Patrick D'Arcy writing for the TED Fellows Blog:
He got his start as a critic of the Kenyan government. Now he’s running for office himself.

Over the last decade, photojournalist and activist Boniface Mwangi has been a fierce critic of the Kenyan government, advocating for political and social change in his home country and inspiring young artists and activists at his acclaimed collective Pawa 254 in Nairobi.
More here

How the young and the restless could change Kenya’s political future


Peter Dorrie writing in African Arguments:
The headlines after 8 August will be about Kenyatta vs. Odinga. But the real contest for Kenya’s future is being waged at a more intimate and local level.

There is an epic battle afoot over the future of Kenya, but it’s not happening where you might expect. As the 8 August general elections approach, the ever-closer contest for the top job is understandably getting much of the attention. But given the only minor differences in their political platforms, it’s unlikely a Raila Odinga presidency would produce markedly different outcomes from a second term under Uhuru Kenyatta...[more]

Teachers as Entrepreneurs for STEM Innovations in Ghana


From Afrinnovation
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Why Are Some Of Africa's Best Talents School Dropouts?


Rudy Massamba founder of Kumatoo writes:
This sad reality stems from the intellectual and mental incapacity of the vast majority of African rulers to rethink the educational system inherited from the colonists in view of adapting it to the intrinsic realities faced by African economies and societies. And Africa has several challenges to deal with for which the remedies can be found locally. Yet, Africans tend to look down at innovations or inventions made by other fellow Africans. As a result, the general belief is that African students, scientists, inventors and innovators are not smart enough to help solve African problems and that the solutions should always come from … the former colonists!
More here

From Nigeria 'Oil In Our Creeks' - A film


allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="274" mozallowfullscreen="" src="" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="640"> Oil In Our Creeks - TRAILER from Contrast VR on Vimeo.

In this immersive VR film by Contrast VR and AJE Online, follow Lessi through her village, to the farm and into the creeks and classrooms as she shows us both the environmental devastation and the youth who provide her community with a sense of hope. Experience 180 degrees of intense landscape shots from the present showing the effects of the oil spill fused with 180 degrees of animation to show how the community appeared before the spill for a full 360 degrees of immersion. Oil In Our Creeks surrounds viewers with that past, present and future of a community grappling with the very local impact of the global oil trade

Capitalism Central - A History of Lagos and Migration


Nnamdi Ehirim writing in the Republic:
Few issues have raised more global concern in recent time than the issue of migration—the movement of people and goods within and across borders. Migration trends have shaped politics—as seen in the 2016 United States elections; determined economic directions—in financial trends following the UK’s Brexit referendum; and exacerbated geopolitical tensions—Nigeria-South Africa relations in the aftermath of xenophobic attacks in South Africa being an instance. Yet, often under-discussed is how migration trends can be traced to a capitalist root cause...[more]

Reckless Borrowing Sinks Africa’s Economic Prospects


George Ayittey writes:
At the end of August 2013, Ghana’s total external debt stood at $22.7 billion – that is money owed by the Government of Ghana to foreign creditors. Another $10.1 billion represents domestic debt, which is owed to domestic creditors – mostly banks and credit institutions. Equally distributed, each Ghanaian shoulders about $1,000 of this huge total debt. What is there to show for this debt? The railway system is kaput. The roads are crated with potholes big enough to swallow a truck. The water tap spits some water now and then – if ever. Turn on the light switch and it will give you a dirty slap (dumsor). So what did the government do with all that money it borrowed in the past? Most Ghanaians would scratch their heads as there is little to show for it...[more]

Innovation in Africa's Informal Sector


From OpenAir:
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"Hiddo-Dhowr" Center for Arts and Culture - Somaliland


Founded by Sahra Halgan, CNN reports:
image via
"I wanted to create something for the arts because they had nothing here - so that's exactly what I did," she said.
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Halgan opened the "Hiddo-Dhowr" center for arts and culture in 2013, a one of a kind music venue in Somaliland. "All the young people in Somaliland used to want to go to Europe because there was nothing for them here," she continues. "But now the center of culture gives them a place to socialise, sing and even dance."
More here

via PrePaid Africa

Indigenous Research Methods: A Reading List


From Helen Kara

#Liberia: America’s outpost of financial secrecy


From Finance Uncovered, by George Turner and a Liberian journalist:
Finance Uncovered, working with an anonymous Liberian journalist, has exposed a little-known offshore business registry that has created tens of thousands of anonymous companies and registered them to a non-existent address in Monrovia, Liberia’s capital city.

Although these companies are technically a creation of Liberian law, management of the registry is based in the United States and appears to have the support of the US government...[more]